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Friday afternoon Cardinal news and notes

Patrick is pumped about the future of U of L athletics under Josh Heird. Less so about the future of the Cincinnati Reds.

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—Louisville catcher Dalton Rushing was named an All-American by Collegiate Baseball on Thursday, making him the 45th Cardinal to receive an All-America accolade. Of those 45 players, 41 of them are from the Dan McDonnell era.

—Congrats to longtime U of L staffer Stephanie Davis on being named Kenny Payne’s first director of basketball operations. Justin Perez, the Roc Nation Sports prince who had widely been rumored to fill that spot, is still expected to be a part of Payne’s staff in some capacity.

—Get hyped.

—Running back Javin Simpkins — who is down to Louisville, Texas, Arkansas, Georgia Tech and Central Florida — will announce his college decision on Aug. 25.

—Floyd Central kicker product Cole Hussung has announced that he is transferring from Michigan to Louisville. Hussung saw limited action in two seasons with the Wolverines.

—If you somehow missed it, here’s the pro-Tom Jurich email that sent the Cardinal fan base into a frenzy Thursday afternoon.

I read it on air without going over it beforehand, and folks, it was a journey. Panic Googling “shouldoria” to make sure it’s not some extremely high-brow word I’ve never heard of is something no host should ever experience.

—Rick Kueber says he isn’t joking about this.

Hopefully it has as much success as Covfefe.

—Florida offensive lineman Koby Keenum is the 19th recruit who has confirmed he will be a part of U of L’s mega-recruiting weekend on June 17-19. Keenum had previously been scheduled to visit Kentucky that weekend.

Keenum recently announced a top five of Louisville, North Carolina, Ole Miss, Mississippi State and UK.

—Via Jon Rothstein, the Louisville men’s basketball team’s home game against Western Kentucky will be played on Wednesday, Dec. 14. Some payback is owed there.

—Eric Crawford writes about the beginning of Louisville baseball’s NCAA tournament journey.

—I would give anything for Tommy Tanks to be a Card.

The world truly does hate NC State.

—The WNBA is planning on adding at least two expansion teams, potentially as early as 2024. I would expect Louisville to at least make a push to be in the discussion.

—The latest episode of the 3rd & Central Podcast gets you primed for Louisville baseball’s NCAA tournament run.

—Jeff Greer’s latest newsletter says there’s no longer much doubt as to whether or not Louisville can recruit D.J. Wagner while his grandfather is a member of the Cardinal staff.

Turns out the NCAA can be forgiving in these hire-a-family-member cases when there is a prior relationship between the potential hire and the school or coach, and U of L feels confident about taking that route. You may have heard that Milt Wagner won a lot of basketball games at U of L, including the 1986 national championship. You may have also heard that Payne was his teammate, and that the two have remained close friends into what is now a fifth decade.

Those two pre-existing relationships now serve as massive cudgels in any argument between U of L and the NCAA over the Cards recruiting Milt’s grandson. And with the consistent stream of PR losses the NCAA has taken over the past year-plus, it’s hard to imagine the organization fighting tooth and nail to prevent a graduating high school kid from playing at a school because the school hired his grandfather who is tight with the coach and a legendary player at said school in his own right.

Maybe 10 years ago. But not now. Not in this environment. With these gas prices?!

Armed with all that, U of L puffed up its chest and brought in Milt. I’ve been bullish for two months or so on Louisville landing DJ Wagner (after some February reporting originally had me thinking Kentucky) but there is no question Milt’s hire should only help the recruiting process. And beyond that, Milt’s hire adds another national champion and former primetime college hoops star to the staff.

—Duke getting guard Tyrese Proctor to reclassify and be a part of next year’s team probably means they’re out of the battle to land Courtney Ramey.

—The KHSAA baseball state tournament started yesterday in Lexington. DeSales, the 6th Region champion, unfortunately fell to Woodford County in a 12-9 thriller. St. X, the 7th Region champ, gets Christian County this afternoon.

—Despite the defections, David Hale feels good about Louisville’s wide receiving corps.

—The Athletic updates its early preseason college hoops top 25 and moves Kentucky to No. 1.

—Gary Parrish of CBS has Gonzaga at the top of his latest rankings, while Jon Rothstein is rolling with North Carolina. For anyone interested (shouts to the 4 of you), my post draft deadline top 25 will be up on on Monday.

—An incoming freshman on the Kentucky football team was arrested yesterday in connection with a murder.

—Cardinal commits Aaron Williams and Pierce Clarkson will be playing their final seasons of high school ball together.

—U of L women’s golf standout Lauren Thibodeau has been named one of the three finalists for the Honda Inspiration Award.

—The SEC has finally realized that having its conference tournament championship game on Selection Sunday is not good.

—Louisville Report’s Matt McGavic previews this weekend’s regional at Jim Patterson.

—Jay Wright once again serves up a ringing endorsement for Josh Heird.

—Scott Satterfield has heard the Jeff Brohm noise, and says the prodigal son may have to wait to come back home because he has plans on getting the program rolling.

—This is the first I’ve heard that a D.J. Wagner commitment might be coming sooner than anyone had anticipated.

Speaking of Wagner, nobody’s recruitment has been more captivating as of late. Wagner was once seen as a heavy Kentucky lean because of the longstanding relationship between his father and UK head coach John Calipari, for whom Wagner Sr. played at Memphis. But Wagner Jr., is suddenly no sure thing for the Wildcats.

Louisville began to creep into the picture when new head coach Kenny Payne took the reins and became even more of a serious threat when Payne added former Duke assistant coach Nolan Smith to his staff.

Then, May 24 happened.

On the 24th, word got out that the Cardinals had hired Wagner’s grandfather, Milt Wagner, as the school’s director of player development and alumni relations. A member of Louisville’s 1986 NCAA championship team, Milt Wagner has history with the program and would have likely been a fit for the position regardless of his relationship with the school’s most important recruiting target. But it’s difficult to believe this move wasn’t a strategic one when it comes to the pursuit of No.3-ranked prospect in 2023.

Whatever the case, Payne’s Cardinals suddenly feel like the favorite here, and it is starting to seem as though a decision could be coming sooner rather than later.

Don’t hate that.

—Don’t hate this either.

—The Brunson in question is Wagner’s high school coach, who is leaving Camden High to take a job with the New York Knicks.

—Pat Forde also writes about Wagner and the looming (active?) battle between the Cards and the Cats.

—If the SEC mandates a nine-game conference schedule, Kentucky could choose to drop Louisville from its schedule.

—I guess you could say things are getting pretty serious.

Would any player in Louisville’s current football recruiting class understand that reference? Would anyone on the current roster?

—U of L is one of seven Power Five institutions to be named a 5-Star Premier Campus by Campus Pride.

—Seven cities have been named finalists to host the Women’s Final Four for the years between 2027-2031.

—More Kaleb Glenn highlights from last weekend:

—Braden Smith is the latest U of L football player who was injured last season to announce that he has been fully cleared to return to the field. Smith has a shot to emerge as Malik Cunningham’s top target this fall.

—Eric Crawford says that Josh Heird earned his permanent AD title with less theater and more performance.

—Angel’s the best.

—The latest podcast from the Cardinal Sports Zone crew is here.

—Alabama QB Zach Sims (2024) is taking an unofficial visit to U of L this weekend.

—The summer bowl projections from 247 Sports have Louisville facing Penn State in the Duke’s Mayo Bowl.

—Who better to learn shooting from than Luke Hancock and Ryan McMahon?

—You can check out Scott Satterfield’s comments from a sitdown with the folks over at WLKY right here.

—Louisville has made the top five for class of 2023 CB Shawn Russ Jr.

—On a national stage, Kaleb Glenn is proving he can play with the best.

—A new Hank Aaron statue has been unveiled at the Louisville Slugger Museum.

—It’s hard to believe it’s been six years.

—Louisville Report takes a close look at Josh Heird’s new contract.

—The Mike Rutherford Show will wrap up the week from 3-6 on 1450 The Big X. Obviously, we’ll be frequently checking in on the action from Jim Patterson. You can stream the show here.

—And finally, beat SEMO.